TRENTON, NJ -- Attorney General Anne Milgram today asked colleges and universities in New Jersey to warn incoming freshmen and returning students about the dangers of sexual predators surfing the Internet, and cyber-bullying and harassment.
In a letter sent to the presidents of the New Jersey schools, Milgram asked school officials to incorporate the topic of cyber-harassment, which includes stalking, bullying, and/or sexual exploitation, into school codes of conduct, with consequences for those who engage in these activities.
Milgram, whose office last spring opened an investigation into the on-line gossip website JuicyCampus.com, said students can be protected through codes of conduct, education and limiting access to personal information. The Attorney General said colleges and universities can limit access to school directory information by allowing students to opt out of listing all or part of their personal information. If students are harassed online they should be able to contact school administrators and have that personal directory information immediately taken down, she said.
Milgram said the schools should establish and advertise the availability of resources for students who are victims of cyber-harassment and should provide training for staff.
“The Internet is a terrific tool for communicating and expanding our horizons,’’ Milgram wrote to the school presidents. “However, it also provides a forum for predatory, fraudulent, and harassing behavior. Bad actors online include dangerous sexual predators who use the Internet to identify and contact potential victims, and students who use the Internet to engage in cyber-harassment.”
Milgram has pursued both civil and criminal investigations related to Internet safety, including seeking the removal of convicted sexual offenders from social networking sites. Her office wrote and distributed best practices for reporting on-line abuse, which have been adopted by MyYearbook.com and the websites operated by Community Connect. The JuicyCampus.com investigation followed reports that students’ were being victimized by the posting of false and malicious content.
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